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Undergoing surgery requires a tremendous amount of trust. A surgical patient is in an extremely vulnerable position and must rely on their expectations that the surgeon and medical staff will apply the highest standard of care. But what happens when a patient awakens from the deep sleep of surgery only to learn that not only did the surgery fail to address the medical issue that put them on the operating table in the first place, but in fact, they’ve undergone a completely unnecessary surgery on a perfectly healthy body part, resulting in permanent harm?
If you’ve been injured in the Phoenix area by a surgeon who performed surgery on the wrong body part, you deserve justice. While nothing can undo the harm caused to your body, compensation for your damages can help ensure access to the best possible medical care and relieve financial burdens while you recuperate. The attorneys at Knapp & Roberts understand the impacts of life-changing medical malpractice cases, including wrong-site surgeries. Let our two decades of experience work for you so you can recover physically and financially from your damages.
The USA’s Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) describes these occurrences as “Sentinel Events in Healthcare,” a term that means an unexpected occurrence resulting in serious physical or psychological harm or in death. Wrong-site surgeries include any surgical procedure performed on the wrong body site, the wrong side of the body, or on the wrong patient.
Wrong-site surgery is a catastrophic form of medical malpractice and an act of negligence. In some cases, wrong-site surgery results in the following:
Reporting wrong-site surgery to the Joint Commission is voluntary, so it’s likely that they occur more often than current statistics reveal.
This type of medical malpractice has multiple negative consequences for patients who may lose a healthy body part, undergo dangerous surgery on a healthy body part, endure unnecessary wounds and scars, or in the worst instances, suffer the irreparable loss of a limb. On top of this unimaginable harm, these patients often have to suffer a second surgery to address the original issue that brought them to the hospital.
Wrong-site surgeries can have both short and long-term consequences for patients. Depending on the type of surgery performed, the ramifications could be unnecessary scarring, a second surgery, increased risk of infection, life-altering changes to body function, and even permanent disabilities.
These mistakes also cause economic and non-economic damages such as increased medical costs, lost time from work, and decreased future earning capacity as well as pain, suffering, and emotional anguish.
According to the Patient Safety Network, wrong-side surgeries are the most common type of wrong-site surgery, comprising 59% of these errors, while 23% were wrong-site errors, 14% were wrong-procedure mistakes, and 5% were wrong-patient surgeries.
Wrong-site surgeries occur most often in orthopedic operations, such as operating on the wrong wrist, elbow, knee, shoulder, or hip. Neurological procedures related to the spine are the second most common type of wrong-site surgery, with procedures sometimes performed on the wrong discs or at the wrong level.
Wrong-site surgery may be the most egregious and terrifying form of medical malpractice, but shockingly, these irreparable errors occur in an estimated 40 surgeries per week in hospitals and surgery centers throughout the United States. While one study estimated approximately one wrong-site surgery per every 112,000 surgical procedures, the estimate focused solely on those errors occurring in hospitals and did not include surgery centers, clinics, and other settings. In fact, Veteran’s Affairs (VA) data shows that only about half of surgical errors occur in hospitals while the other 50% happen outside of the operating room in surgical centers and other facilities. One explanation for the discrepancy is the fact that wrong-site surgeries occur in high-volume orthopedic procedures more than any other type of surgery. This type of error could be as common as 4.5 instances per every 10,000 surgeries.
Because wrong-site surgery is the most serious medical error, it’s a form of medical malpractice. Victims are entitled to full compensation for damages such as the following:
Compensation and damages awards for wrong-site surgery claims are among the highest. The experienced legal team at Knapp & Roberts of Phoenix can help you get the compensation and justice you deserve.
Arizona places a time limit on personal injury claims including a 2-year statute of limitations for wrong-site surgery claims. You must file your claim within two years of the date of the event, or within two years of your discovery of the event if some time passed while you were unaware of the mistake or its impacts.
If you discover that a surgeon wrongly performed your surgery on the wrong site or performed another person’s scheduled surgery on you, you’ve been the victim of a serious form of medical malpractice and should do the following:
Our personal injury law firm has a strong record of success in navigating Arizona’s legal system for medical malpractice cases, including wrong-site surgeries. We will put our two decades of experience, strong community reputation, and resources to work to gather evidence of your injury, prove liability, and craft a compelling case for the maximum compensation for your damages with no out-of-pocket costs. We only get paid when you’re awarded compensation.
Contact a Phoenix surgical error attorney today so we can begin a winning strategy for your case.
The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.
Bob L. - "Mr. Knapp helped me with decisions I did not know how to deal with until he gave me excellent legal and medical consultation."